A synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek: σύνοδος meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is equivalent to the Latin word concilium meaning "council".
The Synodal Process
The synodal process, instituted by Pope Francis, aims to reorder the Church's internal mechanisms for discussion and reflection, and to help shape a new way for the Church to understand and articulate both her internal self-understanding and mission of evangelization.
For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission
A two-year 'synodal' process is taking place across the Catholic Church. This is an important moment in the life of the world Church, with Pope Francis calling us all to reflect on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.” The Pope is inviting us to take this journey together. As the Preparatory Document for the Synod expresses, “This path of walking together is the most effective way of manifesting and putting into practice the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God.”
Who can take part?
The Synod is an invitation to people across our community of faith to ‘walk together’, with every member of the Church encouraged to participate.
Bishops will play a key role, listening to the people of God in their particular Church and, under the power of the Holy Spirit, to hear and discern what is being said of that Church. It is important that those taking part in the Synod allow those charged with the work of discernment, the freedom and support to do so.
Each local Church is a fundamental part of the Universal Church, so what is shared within each local Church is important, contributing to the whole.
Pope Francis has made it clear that people's responses really do matter, they will be taken into consideration by the Bishops in their reports to the Synod.
If people want to see change then now is the time to act and put those thoughts and prayers forward individually or, at least, join their Parish's synodal groups.
The stages of the Synodal Path
The Diocese has divided the questions asked by Rome into three sessions - under the headings Communion, Participation and Mission. The material including questions of each session can be found at https://www.abdiocese.org.uk/synod.
In the Parish:
We are holding Zoom sessions to discuss each of the three headings: Communion, Participation and Mission. The Parish Synod Zoom sessions are 7:30pm to 9:00pm on Mondays, 17th January, 24th January and 31st January 2022. To sign up to attend click here or contact the Parish Office. Also contact the Parish Office if you would like printed resources.
Feedback from our Parish will be entered on the Diocese’s online Synod Form which can be found on the website: www.abdiocese.org.uk/synod The online form will be available throughout December and January. Individual responses can also be submitted through that form.
Additionally, hand-written answers can be posted to: Synod Responses, Formation Team, Bishop’s House, The Upper Drive, Hove BN3 6NB. The deadline for Synod responses is Friday 4th February 2022
In the Diocese:
Responses from across our Diocese will be collated throughout February next year. Bishop Richard will present a summary of the feedback received during an online meeting on 9 March at 7.30pm.
After a period of discernment, the Synodal process will move to its Regional Phase, with our Diocese making a written submission to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales steered by the European Council of Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE).
The Universal Church
The Synod process will eventually progress to the Universal Church with the final Synod Gathering of Bishops in Rome in 2023.